• Two recent events demonstrate aptly that there can be no "moderate" defense of individual right. Columbia University, which last year refused to remove student trespassers, is reported to have lost millions of dollars in expected financial support and to have suffered a 21% drop in applications from high school students. Furthermore, good professors are said to be hesitant to transfer to Columbia because of last spring's destruction, which included the burning of a history professor's papers, representing ten years work.
While the Federal Communication Commission was voting, 6-1 on Feb. 5, to ban cigarette advertising from television and radio, The American Tobacco Company was running (and is still running) advertising with such claims as "U.S. government report…found Carlton 'lowest in tar'.…" Thus does American Tobacco sanction its own persecution.
• "Gloom hung thick over the group of 100 'prominent intellectuals' assembled in Manhattan at a 'theatre for ideas.' The question for discussion was 'The End of the Rationalist Tradition?'—and the answer seemed obvious. Pronounced Poet Robert Lowell: 'The world is absolutely out of control now, and it's not going to be saved by reason or unreason.' Said Author Leslie Fiedler: 'Reason, although dead, holds us with an embrace that looks like a lovers' embrace but turns out to be rigor mortis. Unless we're necrophiles, we'd better let go.'" (from the March 14th issue of Time)
Author Fiedler may not have realized it, but she identified both a perfect leitmotif for the "theater for ideas" and an ideal description of those who attended when she said "we're necrophiles."
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "News and Comment".